SHUSHI — Between December 28, 2023 and April 4, 2024, St. John the Baptist church (S. Hovhannes Mkrtich), a 177 year old landmark in Shushi was destroyed, Azerbaijan’s most egregious violation yet of a December 2021 ICJ order, the Caucasus Heritage Watch reports.

Built by Armenians in 1847, the church, also known as Kanach Zham (Green Chapel), was damaged amidst the 2020 war. In the aftermath of the war, the Baku diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church laid claim to the building and pledged restoration. Nevertheless, the church is now gone.

At the entrance to the belfry, building inscriptions in Armenian read: “St. Hovhannes Mkrtich Church was built by Shusha townsman baron Hovhannes and Baba Stepanyan Hovnanents in memory of their deceased brother Mkrtich in the year of 1847.”

Ghazanchetsots Cemetery

Satellite imagery dated April 4 shows that the destruction of the Ghazanchetsots cemetery in Shushi is complete, the Caucasus Heritage Watch reports.

This marks the first destruction of a cemetery since the International Court of Justice ordered Azerbaijan to prevent and punish attacks on Armenian cultural heritage.

Damage to the cemetery began in October, as CHW reported in an alert on Nov 27. At that point, it was not too late to stop the destruction. But by December 2023 it was almost gone.

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